I never wanted to believe that my Dad was stealing from his job as a road worker. But when I got home, all the signs were there.
I’m Tim, a product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model. I’ve been selected to participate in a 1 to 2 year leadership development program in the APAC region. A year passes both quickly and slowly; this show is a way to both share what I’m learning and see how far I’ve come.
This episode is all about about sharing your ideas fearlessly.
The wrong idea (and the right one)
As part of my leadership development program I’ve had to come up with and execute a “pay it forward” project to benefit my company. At first I struggled to think of one and then initially landed on one that I was basically ignoring my inbox, which didn’t seem like a good sign. At the same time, the coaching that I’ve been receiving through the program identified some themes in my life: storytelling (my own and others), influence (persuasion without authority) , autonomy (execute the way that I think will get the best outcome).
I came up with an idea for a project around equipping technical colleagues to achieve greater upstream influence by expanding their reach, especially on social media. We would do it alongside each other, supporting and encouraging each other along the way.
Good enough to steal?
Part of me worried about telling other people, not just because someone might tell me “no”, but also because someone might try to take it away. Then I saw a blog post from someone else who had an extremely similar idea at a different company: was I beaten to the draw?
I tentatively shared the idea with the leadership development program coordinator who loved it and said it lined up with something she had been thinking about. She provided feedback that increased the chance the program would be successful. I shared it with a colleague who was part of the target participant audience who liked the idea but cringed at some of the language I used to describe it (and helped me reduce the cringe. Then I shared it with person I was most nervous about sharing it with because it relates to their core role; if anyone was going to take it and run with it, it was them. Instead they provided excellent suggestions and resources that I was struggling to find.
Ideas are worthless
I realized that for someone to steal an idea in a corporate setting, they need to have idle resources and or capacity, and the knowledge to execute. Almost no one has that.
A challenge for future Tim: don’t be afraid to share an idea: making it real requires work, experience, and perspective that most people won’t do or have.